The Insights Association and coalition allies urged Congressional appropriations leaders to provide the U.S. Census Bureau with $2 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22).
Joining a Census Project coalition letter, IA recommended "that the Census Bureau receive $2 billion, a funding level that represents a $335 million increase over the agency’s FY 2021 total funding level of $1.65 billion. ... Congress has a unique opportunity to initiate multi-year funding for the Bureau, providing the agency with resources that it needs to not only sustain and strengthen its mission, but also to recover from years of postponed enhancements and pursue numerous necessary operational improvements."
Normally, the coalition reacts to the President's Budget proposal, but the "skinny budget" released by the Biden Administration in April did not even mention Census Bureau funding, so the Census Project put forth our own proposal to Congress.
The proposed increased funding level would accomodate the delivery of 2020 Census data products (delayed into FY22 by the pandemic), modernization of the Bureau's data infrastructure, expansion of the American Community Survey (ACS), stabilizing the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), extending the Pulse surveys, and launching the scheduled Economic Census.
As IA discussed in a recent Roll Call interview, the Bureau is in the midst of an across-the-board modernization (including relative "innovations" like the Pulse surveys) that requires further resources. In particular, the Frames Initiative would help the agency break down concrete silos, "reduce duplication, increase ease and usability of federal statistical data, enhance the quality of Bureau products, facilitate analysis of the U.S. population and economy, and ensure that the federal government can utilize administrative data, responsibly and appropriately, to maximum advantage before burdening survey respondents." This initiative could have the biggest bang for the buck of any census program (even though the Census Bureau will never actually approach the efficiency and innovation of an insights company) and save enormous time and money as the decennial cycle ramps back up later this decade.
However, our biggest interest is in the increased investment in the ACS (formerly known as the Long Form), which our nation relies upon for constructing statistically-valid samples for any research study, including other government studies. "Funding for the ACS has remained relatively stagnant in recent years, including a little over $226 million in FY 2021. The Bureau needs additional funding (no less than $45 million to increase the sample size by at least 1 million households) to properly plan and execute an expansion of the ACS, beginning in FY 2022."
IA continues to advocate for the funding and integrity of the decennial census and ACS in DC while staying involved in related census policy issues.